Today we’re going to delve into knitting for beginners. Kids being the beginners- but maybe you are, too! Basic knitting is really easy to pick up, and you just need to figure out the casting on (getting the yarn on the needle), the basic knit stitch, and binding off (ending the project).
Basic Knitting Project
Scarves, while they are a logical beginner’s project, are also a bit daunting because they’re like a million feet long. Plus I think scarves might not be the most exciting thing for kids. Mine refuse to wear them. So do I, for that matter.
So I came up with this felted bracelet project– it involves just enough knitting so they get familiar with the hand movements, but not so much that they lose interest and tuck it away in a corner under their bed.
The second part is that they get to throw their knitting in the washing machine and dryer to felt it. It’s a little thrill to take a piece of knitting out of the dryer and have a brand new, fuzzy item.
Here’s how Wikipedia explains how felting works, because they can do it better than I:
Felt is made by a process called wet felting where the natural wool fibres, stimulated by friction and lubricated by moisture (usually soapy water), move at a 90 degree angle towards the friction source and then away again, in effect making little “tacking” stitches. While at any given moment only 5% of the fibres are active, the process is continual, so different ‘sets’ of fibres become activated and then deactivated, thereby building up the cloth.
Did you fall asleep? Essentially, the friction, water and a little soap make natural fibers sort of mat themselves together. It’s science, folks.
Knitting needles size 6 or 7- I would buy wooden knitting needles for beginners, as they tend to grip the yarn nicely.
Yarn – You will need 100% wool yarn for this project or it won’t felt. Suggestions: This little yarn group is all sorts of fun colors! You need less than 1 skein for this project. Ooh, but these yarn groupings are gorgeous, too. (Be prepared to become full-on addicted to yarn if you start knitting.)
Embroidery thread and embroidery needle – You can find these at craft stores, sewing stores or Amazon.
The Knit Stitch
If your kids are slightly too young for knitting with needles, check out this finger knitting tutorial. It’s a good intro to the concept of knitting.
Throw your knitted pieces into the washing machine with a couple of towels. Wash on the hottest setting with a little detergent, then dry everything on hot.
Your pieces should emerge felted! You can now cut off one end to make it straight. Measure around your wrist, cut to fit and sew the 2 ends together with a whip stitch. I originally wanted to have this bracelet snap together, but the horrible little snap tool I have didn’t work in the thick felt. Make sure you leave the bracelet long enough to fit over your hand when taking off and putting on.
Beyond the Knitting Basics
KnittingHelp.com is my very, very favorite site for knitting videos. It’s how I learned to knit- It’s brilliant to be able to watch a technique over and over again, and try it out as you’re watching.
Of course, when I was learning to knit, there weren’t resources like CreativeBug and Bluprint, both of which have amazing knitting instructors and classes. (I still can’t get over CreativeBug’s cheap monthly price for access to all their classes.)
If you’re looking for a couple of lovely books geared toward knitting for kids, these 2 are pretty great:
Here’s an article on the therapeutic benefits of knitting, including helping to manage disruptive behavior and ADHD in children.